Do you realise on 8 March International Women’s Day reaches a centenary (1911-2011). Wow hey. Huge changes have occurred in that time and yet there are still many more to be made. It is so worth celebrating the success. Check out this web site to see what’s happening in your country
I like some of the recent thinking that if we are going to make changes for the women then we need to make changes for the men.
This blog site is largely devoted to the juggle of raising kids whilst studying a PhD as a Mum. It would be not be possible without the support of my hubby but it would be so much easier if society allowed us to share the load equally. For an academic man to share care raising children his career would halt just like with Mums but worse. If the long hours and total commitment to work were altered to incorporate not only the caring of children but also frail relatives and community volunteer-work we would be such a better place to live in Oz.
Rather than prattle and rattle I’m going to list. I’m going to list all the inspirational moments that inspired me to try the juggle of raising a family whilst working. I’m also going to list the hardships I’ve endured that may have been preventable…
· My male boss (District Manager in National Parks) who took one day off each week to care for his elderly father. He also welcomed a family environment at work.
· My boss who gave up her office so I could have somewhere to express milk at lunch
· My work colleague who asked if she could express milk in the lunch room of a manly male dominated workforce (I was appalled that she would bare her breasts at work and I was too young to realise how silly I was)
· Work colleagues who worked part-time to care for their children. I knew it was possible
· Maternity leave
· Family benefit payments
· Other Mums who have completed PhDs
· The opportunity to study part-time whilst receiving an APA under special circumstances. Is a pre-schooler really a special circumstance or just a normal part of life???
· Reading the book Mamma PhD
· Reading the book How a pressure cooker saved my life
· When I told the head of school I wanted to studying a PhD and have a baby in the first year she politely picked her jaw off the table, acknowledged I already had two kids so I knew what I was doing and offered to fund a laptop computer to make it possible
· Mum- who worked her career to always care for my brothers and I. She followed her hubby but managed to find jobs that used her education. She was there during school holidays but a role model who could teach me about biology. I tried so hard to not be a scientist like my Mum. So why am I studying a PhD in Science?
· Dad who can cook, clean and look after his grandchildren in-between flying to interstate meetings.
· Being told I could not go part-time when I returned from maternity leave. I knew legally I could but I had lost the will to fight.
· Travelling in a truck whilst my male work colleagues looked at porno magazines
· Expressing milk in the toilets at Wollongong when I was on a workshop then tipping it down the sink. They could provide better facilities for milking Mums
· Being denied a top-up scholarship from the CRC due to being part-time
· Having library rights removed when I take leave to look after my kids during school holidays
· Cost of childcare. In Adelaide preschool cost me Aus$50 per 10 weeks. In NSW it cost me Aus$36 per day.
· Having to arrange complicated care arrangements for my children any time I wanted to do field work or attend conferences
· Being the primary carer when the kids were sick. So many days of study and work had to be missed
· Keeping the sanity when a PhD takes forever due to studying part-time
· Being asked how long I would be on maternity leave before being sent the letter of offer for employment
· Field work when breastfeeding. Forget it!
· Field work whilst menstruating
· I don’t want to leave my kids to travel overseas to attend international conferences. I’d miss them too much but I can’t afford to take them and someone to care for them
· Mother guilt
My hurdles have been nothing compared to the plight of many women over the years. May the next 100 years improve the lives and equality for women and families around the world…